Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Maze Runner

I've had The Maze Runner, by James Dashner, on my TBR list for a long, long time but I had seen mixed reviews for it and therefore it was never really high up there. Browsing through my library the other day, though, looking for a quick YA read, I saw this one was in stock so I grabbed it.

Thomas wakes up in a black box, remembering nothing but his own name. He is greeted by a group of teenage boys who are living in a self-sufficient world called the Glade. There are few rules, the most important of which is to never, under any circumstances, enter the Maze after nightfall. No one can remember life before waking up in the Glade, but Thomas is determined to solve the Maze and find a way out. He's sure that life back in the real world must be better than a secluded existence spent terrified of the Grievers, horrible animal/machine hybrids that will kill any Glader that gets too close. But why were they all sent here? Who would sentence children to such a life? And if there is a way out, will it be worth it?

The first half of this novel moved a bit slowly for me, and I was getting kind of annoyed with the constant reiterations of the phrase "I don't remember" but by the second half, things really picked up. Thomas is a good protagonist: smart, loyal, determined, and flawed. Dashner did a good job of giving the other Gladers enough of a personality that they were memorable, but not too much detail that they overshadowed Thomas. I found the descriptions of the environment and the Grievers, however, to be a bit much. I just had a hard time really picturing some of the things he was describing. It didn't detract from the main action, really, but I wish that either I had been able to grasp the picture being described or Dashner had picked a more coherent description.

The ending left me intrigued and wanting to read the next novel in the trilogy, The Scorch Trials. I'm definitely wondering how everything fits together.

In an effort to leave out any spoilers, I'm not able to go into much detail and I apologize, but if you're looking for a fast YA read with plenty of twists and turns, don't hesitate to pick this one up. 4 out of 5 stars.

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